I was born in Amsterdam, which was not a good place to be in the last five months of the war. My sisters were born in 1947 and in 1949, my mother’s health started to deteriorate so we were advised to go to a hot climate. My parents chose Indonesia, where my mother [who had Dutch parents] was born.
We had to leave when Indonesia become independent. The Australian and Dutch government had organised with the Dutch community to become sponsors, so we left on the 10th of November 1954 and arrived in Fremantle six days later by ship.
From there we moved to Kalamunda and Gooseberry Hill for a short time and attended Kalamunda primary for one year. My teacher was extremely strict and decided that I was to learn English. It also helped our language that both our parents spoke English, my mother learned at school in Holland and my father grew up in America, so it wasn’t long before we were mastering the language.
In 1963 met my husband Terry and married him in February 1964. He was working at UWA for a couple of years but got a job at Curtin, then WA Institute of Technology as an electronics engineer. I became involved in the social club and was elected president for two years. In 1976 my son Sean was born and in 1971 I had a daughter Erica. When Sean attended preschool I joined the committee and became treasurer for a year and at the same time my daughter went to a playgroup where I was involved in the committee.
My mother was a lecturer at Claremont School of art so I accompanied her there and attended classes for jewellery, pottery, painting and sculpture.
In 1981 I became involved in a group that provided low cost childcare for people to attend craft courses. Again I became involved in the committee becoming a teacher in jewellery, pottery and spinning, and was coordinator for quite a number of years.
That was about the time I joined Silver Chain and became a support worker, doing similar work to ECHO. During my time at Silver Chain, I was invited to join in a free pilot program for nine months to study an intensive caring course for the aged.
In 1995 I became a Civil Marriage Celebrant and have performed over 340 wedding ceremony over that time. I decided to retire a couple of years ago.
In 1995 I separated from my husband, and in1996 transferred my caring life to ECHO, first joining as a volunteer, then becoming a paid carer.
In 2009 I retired from ECHO as an employee but in 2010 I re-joined ECHO as a volunteer, taking client to doctors, dentists and other appointments, but lately I have been one of the bus drivers, taking clients out for lunch or shopping. I also became a member of the ECHO board and have been with the board for a number of years.
In 1996 I joined Parents Without Partner, and again became involved in the committee. I became president for two years of my branch, then became state president for two years, and left the organisation in 2009.
I have travel extensively to Bali, backpacked to Europe five times, visited my father’s family in America three times. Last year I took my two grandsons to Bali, and next year it is time for my middle granddaughter.
I have seven grandchildren, and have just become a great grandmother with my great grandson born on 22.3 2014.